Interview with Mayor Barletta of Hazleton, Pennsylvania
JULY 27, 2007
GLENN BECK PROGRAM
GLENN: With talent on loan from Johnny Sutton. Hello, you sick twisted freak. Welcome to the program. I'm glad you're here. My name is Glenn Beck. Saw a disturbing story today from Hazleton, Pennsylvania. U.S. judge last night struck down as unconstitutional a local law designed to crack down on illegal immigration, dealing a blow to similar laws passed by dozens of towns and cities across the country. This is from U.S. District Judge James Munley. He says the City of Hazleton, 100 miles north of Philadelphia, not allowed to implement a law for businesses that hired illegal immigrants and penalized landlords who rent rooms to them. Federal law prohibits Hazleton from enforcing any of the provisions of its ordinances.
Well, this makes sense. Of course enforcing laws would be unconstitutional in this country. We go to Mayor Barletta who is the mayor of Hazleton who has been under an extraordinary amount of pressure here in the last year. Did this in a re-election year, if I'm not mistaken, Mayor, and honestly this thing could have gone either direction for you.
Louis Barletta, Mayor of Hazleton
MAYOR BARLETTA: That's true, but I saw a problem here in my city and realized that the federal government wasn't doing anything about it and I needed to take action.
GLENN: So you're not surprised by this judge? You knew you were going to lose to this judge?
MAYOR BARLETTA: There was no question. We were disappointed but not surprised. He gave indications during the course of the trial that we were not going to be successful in his court. For example, many of the plaintiffs who were suing us went by the name of John and Jane Doe because they were illegal aliens and they asked the judge if he would protect their identity, which he did. We were not allowed to ask who they were or where they lived. They then went back to the judge and asked if they did not have to show up for the trial because they were concerned they would be deported, and he granted that. So we never saw the people who were suing us.
MAYOR BARLETTA: So this is no surprise to us.
GLENN: Don't you have a right to face your accuser? I mean, isn't that part of our law again that they need to stand there?
MAYOR BARLETTA: We petitioned the judge to appeal that decision of his, and he denied our right to appeal that portion. So obviously when we go on and appeal to the third circuit court in Philadelphia now, that will be, you know, part of the -- our objection to his decision is he granted a right to illegal aliens that an American citizen would not have. We cannot, as an American citizen, walk into a federal court and have our identities protected and not --
GLENN: Wait, wait. But wait a minute. Not just have our identities protected but our identities protected, not even show up because we're afraid we will face the consequences of doing something illegal.
MAYOR BARLETTA: And a federal judge has granted that. And, you know, he made the claim that by removing illegal aliens, we will effect foreign alliances.
GLENN: That's not his job.
MAYOR BARLETTA: That we should have contacted foreign countries to ask them if it's okay to remove illegal aliens.
GLENN: He did not say that. Wait, wait, wait, wait. He did not say that.
MAYOR BARLETTA: I was asked during the trial when I was on the stand if I had called President Calderon to tell him about this ordinance before we passed it. And in the judge's decision he said, by removing illegal aliens, we will effect foreign alliances.
GLENN: Let me tell you something. Anybody who said Mex-Ameri-Canada, that I was crazy for Mex-Ameri-Canada, here it is. We are now asking permission if we can enforce our own laws here? What was your response to him?
MAYOR BARLETTA: I laughed. I thought the joke was a lighter moment in the trial, but the ACLU attorney was serious and obviously the judge agreed because he felt that we should have checked with other countries before we passed this law.
The judge also made the claim that the federal government wants some illegal aliens to remain in the country, that the government wants a balance, by closing off the border but allowing some illegal aliens in the interior. Now, I don't know what law in this country of America said that we want illegal aliens to remain in the interior of the country, and this judge obviously was imposing his own views, and we need --
GLENN: No. You know what? Honestly, Mayor, I believe he's right. I believe he's absolutely right. Did he give any reason for it? But so far he's right, that he has, I believe, our federal government's perspective on what the illegal immigration issue really is, and that is we'll effect Canada, we'll effect Mexico and we're not going to do that because it will be bad for our relationship with them and it will be bad for business. So we're not going to do these things. We're not going to enforce our own laws. And the last point of, we want a balance, but we do want these illegal aliens in here, I would love to know what his reasoning is, but I can tell you that I believe a lot of it is because of those two things that he just pointed out.
MAYOR BARLETTA: Well, he did give his reason is for the economics benefits.
GLENN: There you go.
MAYOR BARLETTA: That it's all about money. He confirmed what I've been saying. This is about money. Those that support illegal aliens in this country, it's all about money. It's about profit. It's about people making money. You know what they don't talk about, you know, is, you know, when they talk about having compassion for those that are here illegally, how about the compassion for the American worker who lost their job because an illegal alien will come here and do it for less? How about those who can least afford to lose those jobs, the American workers who might be unskilled and uneducated? What happens to those people? How many of those are put out onto the sidewalks of our -- in our communities? You know, where's the compassion for the legal Americans? This is unbelievable that I have to stand and defend myself because I want to enforce the rule of law of this country?
GLENN: You know what? Mayor, I'm going the take it a different direction. I'm going to talk about compassion as well. What about the compassion of those who are expected to live here illegally doing jobs for an unlivable wage? They say the minimum wage is unlivable? How about the wage we're paying some of these illegal aliens? It is absolutely reprehensible. It is modern day slavery. Don't even start with me on compassion when we are enslaving people for profit.
MAYOR BARLETTA: That's true. They are being exploited, and I witness it in my community when I find 10, 15 people living in apartments that aren't fit for animals, yet alone people, human beings. And again it's about money. Landlords making money. And what does our ordinance do? It goes after the landlords. We're not doing anything to the illegal alien. The federal government will make that determination. We're going after the landlord because it is illegal to harbor illegal aliens. We're going after the business because it is illegal to hire illegal workers. You know, our law made sense. Unfortunately this country does not want to do anything about illegal immigration.
GLENN: No, that's not true, Mayor. Don't you -- don't misconstrue this. The country does want to do something about it.
MAYOR BARLETTA: You're right.
GLENN: Our government doesn't.
MAYOR BARLETTA: You're right.
GLENN: I've been reading a lot, a ton on the founding fathers here recently and, you know, they were very, very clear. The federal government should be the weakest part of our government. The local government should be the strongest because the closer you get to the people, the more it is in connection with the people and its will, and the people are speaking. That's why you're seeing communities like yours all the way across the country starting to step in and saying, okay, you know what; the government's not going to do it; we will.
MAYOR BARLETTA: That's true because we deal with it every single day.
MAYOR BARLETTA: When I face the community in my community, when I watch their tax dollars go toward people who are not paying taxes. You know, it's an interesting statistic. Our population here in Hazleton grew here by 50% but our earned income tax, which is our main source of revenue, remained the same. That is an incredible statistic. We're providing services for 50% more people that are living here but our earned income tax remained the same. What city, what small city with limited budgets could withstand that kind of drain on its resources? And that's how it affects the quality of life. You know, when I can no longer have a police officer patrolling playgrounds, you see gangs around place grounds. You see drug dealers around playgrounds. When senior citizens can't sit on their porch again, this is what small town America is about. When that's taken away from a community, what's left. And we're not going to stand for it. We're going to fight this, and I'll fight this all the way to the Supreme Court if I have to.
GLENN: What's your next step? How long before it goes into court again?
MAYOR BARLETTA: We have 30 days to appeal this decision, which we will, and then it will go to the third circuit court in Philadelphia where I believe this judge's opinions will be overturned. And then from there on to the Supreme Court. The ACLU has vowed to go the distance, as well as we have. We have created a website. It's called smalltowndefenders.com for anyone that wants to help us with this fight because the ACLU has put 25 lawyers on the case in hopes of bankrupting the city and hoping that we will roll over and back down, but I'm sure they know by now we're not backing down and we're not rolling over. So anyone that wants to help us, they could log onto that website.
GLENN: What is it again?
MAYOR BARLETTA: Smalltowndefenders.com.
GLENN: Who are you in league with? Are you in bed with big oil? No, I'm kidding. Who are you in league with? Who has stepped to the plate that is -- that's helping you? Any organizations?
MAYOR BARLETTA: Well, you know, I could tell you this. The United States Chamber of Commerce filed a brief against us, which was no surprise. We're being supported by average Americans. You know, we have received over $360,000 from people all across the country who have been sending us $5, $10. I'm getting money from veterans. I had one veteran send me $7. He said, Mayor, this is everything I have in my wallet. Don't stop fighting. You're fighting for all of us. You know, it's just average Americans who are hoping that Hazleton wins this battle. If Hazleton wins, cities across the country win and, you know, that's, I guess, the way this government was supposed to work but isn't. But, you know, we're not going to -- we're not going to roll over here.
GLENN: Mayor, we will talk again, my friend.
MAYOR BARLETTA: Okay. Thank you.
GLENN: Thank you very much. The name of the website again is smalltowndefenders.com. Thank you very much.
MAYOR BARLETTA: You're welcome.
GLENN: Thank you very much. Mayor Barletta of Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
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Monday, July 30, 2007
Interview with Mayor Barletta of Hazleton, Pennsylvania